England, currently ranked second in the ICC ODI rankings, enter Champions Trophy as hosts and one of the prime contenders for the title. Here is a list of the players who may prove to be vital in the tournament starting June 6.
Although he has never played the Champions Trophy before, England captain Cook will be buoyed by the fact that he is leading the team at home. He has lead the English team well so far to take them to second in the ODI rankings, behind India. He would now be looking to lead by example as well as after all, he likes batting at home. Three out of his five ODI hundreds have come in England and in 33 home games, he has an average of 38.63. Interestingly, all the three instances of him being not out in an innings have come in England, so oppositions must look to get him out early or he could make them pay.
Eoin Morgan is one of the few frontline batsmen in the current English line up who has played the ICC Champions Trophy and has a decent record to show as well. Morgan scored 147 runs from the 4 Champions Trophy games in 2009 at an average of 49, including 2 fifties and a best of 67. His ODI record in England too is quite impressive with 1105 runs in 38 matches at an average of 44.20. Two of his four ODI tons have come in England and 7 of his 17 fifties have also come on home soil. Morgan, originally an Irishman, is an unorthodox batsmen who shores up the England middle order and thrives against the lack of purchase the spinners get on unhelpful surfaces in England.
Graeme Swann is one of the leading spinners in world cricket currently. Although the surfaces in England might not be the most helpful for spin bowling but Swann could prove a handful. In ODIs in England, Swann has taken 59 wickets in 37 matches at a terrific bowling average of 21 and an economy rate of 4.27. His lone five-wicket haul in ODIs has also come at home, against Australia.
James Anderson will undoubtedly play the role of a strike bowler for England in the coveted tournament. He is the most experienced bowler in the England ranks and has played seven ICC Champions Trophy games, having picked up 10 wickets at an average of 30.60 with a best of 3/20. He has an excellent overall record at home, taking 105 ODI wickets in 77 games with six instances of scalping 4 wickets in an innings. Anderson's strengths is his ability to swing the ball both ways both early as well as later on conducive surfaces.
Standing at 6 feet 7 inches, Steven Finn has been one of the best finds for England in the last couple of years. Finn has the ability to move the ball in the air and off the seam and generates disconcerting bounce due to his height. To go with it his average speeds that clock 145 kmph and above. Finn is currently ranked third in the ICC ODI rankings and has an excellent overall record in ODIs - 52 wickets in 33 matches and an economy rate of 4.60.
Story first published on: Thursday, 23 May 2013 15:21 IST